On Laundry and Ice Cream!

First, I’ll give you a recipe. Then I’ll give you some tips. We got the Zoku Shake-maker thing. We already had the popsicle maker, and we like that one a lot! The shake-maker is also rather nifty. I wouldn’t call what it makes granita or shake, it is more of an awkward ice cream, but it is really delicious. It’s not the Magimix Turbine à Glace, but it is better than the motorized 250 euro costing one we had before the Turbine, but that we had to return because it was so loud we heard it when we put it out on the balcony. So that’s not bad for a 15 euro gizmo that works without electricity.

Picture featuring a round container (the zoku shake maker) filled with bright pink raspberry sorbet garnished with two mint leaves and a few chocolate shavings.

Get a cup. Fill it 2/3 with fruit (I used frozen cherries and strawberries), add a splash of agave nectar and a tablespoon of almond butter. Add water until the fruit is covered. Add a handful of mint if desired, and sweeten with stevia to taste. Blend this all up, add to the Zoku together with either a handful of chocolate chips, or some nuts, or cookie crumbs, or toasted coconut flakes. Do the stirring thing. Then put on a movie and enjoy. You can make this as healthy as you’d like. The texture improves remarkably with the added agave, but you can sweeten it the rest of the way with stevia if you’d like. I have done this with my morning smoothie, but the texture is really depressing when you use unsweetened smoothie with chia seeds and kale…

Picture featuring a round container (the zoku shake maker) filled with bright pink raspberry sorbet garnished with two mint leaves and a few chocolate shavings.

Now for a movie-tip: if you like the 80’s, intercultural relationships, skinheads seeing the error of their ways and embracing old “friendships”, a young Daniel Day Lewis (& an equally gorgeous Gordon Warnecke), sex involving bubbly wine, tight jeans and squatters (I happen to have a soft spot for each and every one of those), you should watch My Beautiful Launderette. I think my dad recommended it a few years ago. I won’t say it’s a fun movie, it is a bit strange with a fuckload of dark shit happening in the not-so-fortunate parts of society during Thatcher (or: duh). But I repeat, Daniel Day Lewis, young! With champagne! If you then need a bit of a laugh, because you are both deeply saddened and hugely excited from watching Laundrette, you should read Al Dente by David Winner. Who knew the Ancient Romans were the first designer-water drinkers? It might have not been bottled, but it was branded and hyped up. For real!

Melty Daiya!

I told you about the friend got me Daiya and I may have used it in everything. It turns out I am not a fan of the cheddar slices. But the mozzarella is a lot milder and I don’t think people really notice the difference between this and what’s on regular frozen pizzas. Anyway, it is really good so I put it on everything. I put it on a hummus-pesto-hybrid made from fresh green peas, pine nuts and mint for some fancy open-faced grilled cheese. A little bit of sriracha gave it more of a kick, which I like.

Picture of two open-faced sandwiches with mint-pea spread and melted daiya.

Having had a chance to try Teese, Sheese, aforementioned Cheezly, Tofutti, Violife, Wilmersburger and Daiya, and some tofu-feta-goat-cheese thing from a Berlin health food store that was so good I had three blocks of it in 5 days, I can say that some of those have their use. I recommend you completely ignore the first three. They’ve ruined otherwise perfectly cheeselessly delicious meals. Tofutti slices are doable if inferior, but their cream cheese is perfect, exactly that same fatty, little bit bland, rich weird creamy thing that is regular cream cheese, with not a hint of soybean. Violife is quite similar to what you can get in Dutch supermarkets pre-sliced in packets, and the same goes for Wilmersburger. I especially recommend the latter, also for grilled cheese. Daiya is the only one of those that melts somewhat realistically and the mozzarella is neutral enough to work with anything.

Picture of a bowl of chili topped with shredded daiya.

Right, my initial point of this post was that chili is really tasty with a handful of Daiya, and I made a discovery: they have smoked paprika powder at a store just a short bike ride away. I had been looking for smoked paprika for the longest time and there it suddenly was, next to the cash register. It is the best thing ever to have happened to both chili and BBQ. And sauces. And tomato soups. And salads that need a bit of heat or smoke. And tofu rubs. And baked potato fries. I’ve found the sweet variety there as well, so now I put it in almost everything.

Picture of a bowl of chili with shredded daiya.

As you can see, my mum’s cooking course is really paying off. The structure of our breads has improved drastically. I am learning from a distance, and have now learned to make the best pasta I’ve had in my life so far. Penne all’ arrabbiata is something new, but it’s the kind of spicy even my family enjoys on occasion. And you can make it as spicy and with as much vegetables as you want. It takes a maximum of 20 minutes? 30 if I am very precise and finicky about it. So you should try it. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe (without dead anchovies of course), because his method of cooking is roughly similar to that of the course. You cook your pasta until just south of al dente (for me, with spaghetti that’s probably 5 minutes, 6 with a bigger pasta) and then cook it the rest of the way with a cup of cooking water added to the sauce (takes me 2 minutes usually). It makes for a really nice bite and a sauce that actually sticks to your pasta without clumping or the need for olive oil to prevent said clumping. It’s so simple and so much better that I don’t know why we didn’t start cooking pasta like this years ago! I blame the Dutch and their total lack of pasta-understanding. Or possibly a lack of Italians in my life.

James Tiberius Kirk

I often wonder if I antropomorphise my cats too much. I guess it won’t hurt them if I think of them as tiny furry humans, hell, they probably think of me as a huge relatively clumsy cat. At least that’s what the book suggests. What finally convinced me that we are in essence pretty similar creatures, is Captain James Tiberius Kirk (the original). I am more a TNG and Voyager fan (with a huge Garak-weakness), and you can wake me up for Commander Tucker any time of night.

Picture of a bowl of cherry-banana nice cream against the deck.

I am not so much a fan of TOS because it is difficult not to laugh or fall asleep because of the very lengthy pauses and stage-like over-acting common in the 60’s. But then there’s Kirk (and Nichelle Nichols <3). Don't get me wrong, it is completely logical that Spock became the sex symbol. But I react to Kirk the way my cats react to butterflies. Whatever I’m doing, if there is Kirk, I will become pre-occupied and stare at him transfixed. I can’t say that I start batting at the computer screen, but I cover my mouth with my hands every now and again in overexcitement.

Picture of a bowl of cherry-banana nice cream against the deck with a cat looking at the bowl in the background.

To go with the Kirk and aloof cats, you should probably make banana-sorbet. There’s so many recipes on the internet that you hardly need my extra input, but I should say that I usually add some extra maple syrup to the sour cherries, and have added chocolate chips on occasion. It was really good. It’s not “just like ice cream, yum” (Kristina really gets on my nerves), but it is an excellent snack or even a proper meal when combined with hot cereal. Also, huge coconut flakes are my new favorite thing. Oh, and always add vanilla. It makes the sorbets go from “quite good and fruity” to “what is this ambrosia (sort of)”.

I’ll leave you with something only mildly Star Trek related: Shatner does Common People. Maybe next time we will discuss the ins and outs of Cardassian politics.